only thing we have to fear is fear itself
- Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States.
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first stop at Ground Zero, Poffy and I gaze intently at the Heroes Board, trying
to discern whether these names were policemen, volunteer firefighters, civilians
who jumped out of windows or people who rode a suicide Boeing. After the WTC tragedy,
the term "hero" itself became as plastic as the explosives placed strategically
at key structural points of the WTC buildings to allow them to collapse so neatly
into their own footprints. (Did I say that aloud?)
court some perspective here (probably the first time it's ever been done at Ground
Zero): many relatives and friends of mine have died, in causes natural and accidental.
Though they accomplished triumphs on a personal level, none of them could remotely
be regarded as a "hero" on a public level. Likewise, not only have the
victims of the Tower attacks done anything remotely grandiose on a personal level
(other than retain a job to provide for their families), it is dubious any of
them accomplished anything on a worldwide scale - enough to be termed a "hero"
at least. Were any one of them nominally "famous" or "accomplished"
in any way, the whore-mongering newscasters would have had a public relations
field day touting their celebrity. No sidebars or featurettes were produced for
any single WTC victim because each was unremarkable to the point of mediocrity.
But don't sweat it - so were all my relatives and friends. Isn't it about time
America also admitted this about their cause célèbre WTC casualties?
for the world to see, the American media, with the public's unhinged approbation,
elasticizes the terminology of "hero" to include people that were killed
unknowingly, quickly and without reason, on this Board of Elusive Vernacular.
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the Heroes Board, Poffy buys a touristy t-shirt and frolics, overjoyed to find
his reflection in the water - he is, after all, just a figment of someone's imagination.
Pictures - professional and amateur - line the Ground Zero restraining barrier,
which encircles an area larger than can be perceived through a television screen
more enthralled with station identification banners, text crawls and advertising
junkets, and the imagination reels with the magnitude of what transpired that
fateful day, to bring down such monoliths so decisively.
or not more than just burning jet fuel (which cannot burn hot enough to melt skyscraper
steel) brought down the Towers, surely their razing was joyously exploited by
the power-junkie thugs in office.
conclusively that where there are Heroes, there are Villains.
most obvious antagonists in the drama were the Islamic fanatics who steered passenger-laden
planes into the WTC Towers; behind these men, the organizers of the attack, a
collective called al Qaeda; and steeped in the filthy rectum-blackness, behind
them all, coming full circle, stand the dignitaries of the country that was attacked
- all the President's men.
reflect on villainy.
are not necessarily "conspirators." No one is saying that President
Bush organized the attacks on the WTC Towers, or was even complicit in their staging;
in the aftermath, it was not he who personally masterminded his administration's
devices against freedom and truth - but in being used as a figurehead to absorb
blame and simultaneously present a dunderhead upon which no conspiracy theories
would realistically stick, Bush is complicit in every successive crime and unconstitutional
mandate that 9-11 spawned against civil rights.
W. Bush himself - the man, the myth, the moron - could not organize a fake photo
op to portray himself in ill-fitting pilot's garb convincingly, let alone a fracas
on the scale of 9-11. But the United States government collective (including,
but not limited to, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice), though felons and imbeciles, are not
too brain-dead to discern the benefits in allowing their cringing citizens to
THINK they ARE smart enough to collude on a conspiracy of this magnitude. Using
the people's paranoia against them, paint-sloshing their every political move
against a "terror" cyclorama, the cowards of the United States government
hold their citizens united - in fear - not of the long-forgotten threat of al
Qaeda (who have not reared their jihad since September 2001) but of the United
States government itself, who, by incessantly crying wolf in a post 9-11 world,
have become the sole perpetrators of terror and usurpation of liberty against
the American people.
far from the madding crowd.
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in the 9-11 mosh pit.
On the heels of all who come to pretend sorrow
or respect appear the dissenters and their crackpot filibustering. Trouble is
- these didactic soapboxers are probably right. And the only reason they have
nothing to fear from this government who "disappears" their naysayers
(by sacking television reporters and castigating journalists) is because they
present their arguments in just such a gauche fashion. Ain't it quaint how lies
told through a government office are more readily believed than truths told through
an honest patriot?
FDR made his observation about "fear itself," his integrity would never
have allowed him to conceive that one of his very successors would use fear itself
as the political sledgehammer by which to retain office. For those who believe
that George W. invented the word "terror," Franklin Delano Roosevelt's
full quote, referring to the 1933 Depression's gaunt specter, reads, "So,
first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear
is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed
efforts to convert retreat into advance." No, George Walker Bush is not the
first U.S. President to know "terror" as a debilitating civil heartsickness
- he is just the first U.S. President to wield that terror as a weapon against
his own people.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes "villain" as "a deliberate
scoundrel or criminal." Thusly, peddling mendacious stories of American military
successes in news forums worldwide, lying outright to the American people about
Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq as an excuse to invade the country, eliminating
global warming passages in federal reports on air pollution - these are all acts
of villainy. Deliberate. Criminal. Scoundrel.
True Villains would neglect to alert rescue teams to the toxicity of the air enshrouding
Ground Zero in its immediate aftermath ("
most dangerous aspect of fire
in modern buildings is the production of dense, deadly pyrotoxins
monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen chloride, vinyl chloride
Path Where No Man Thought, Carl Sagan, Richard Turco); only Villains of a
magnitude infinitely greater than bank robbers and grocery store bandits or drunk
drivers and jay walkers would allow their own citizens to die from anthrax before
losing profits ("Once it belatedly realized that another terrorist attack
was under way, the administration's first impulse was not to secure as much Cipro
as speedily as possible to protect Americans, but to protect the right of pharmaceutical
companies to profiteer by refusing to break Bayer AG's patent and authorize other
drug companies to produce generic versions of the drug." The Greatest
Story Ever Sold, Frank Rich).
Villainy abounds in every step, every
nuance of the George W. Bush administration, from former Attorney General John
Ashcroft's passing his USA Patriot Act before most of congress bothered
to take the time to read it, to decimating a country that had nothing to do with
attacking yours, all the while accusing it of being about to attack yours
and lying to your citizens that there is compelling evidence to suggest it will,
though there is none.
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the course of 9-11 marketers selling their Grand Euphemisms, Poffy and I found
nothing more affronting to the nation's perceived bovine aspect than this Ground
Zero panel, advertising a photo exhibit that veritably screams agitprop by its
title alone - "here is new york: a democracy of photographs." "Democracy"
is a noun, referring to the canon of government by the people. Did these photographs
vote themselves into the exhibit? How does one even rationalize the phrase "democracy
of photographs" to mean anything other than maroon-necked jingoism? "Democracy"
also means "classlessness." If the title is any indication, we can safely
say that this collection has already exhibited its classlessness.
Merchant Mariners' Memorial.
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This macabre sculpture has nothing to do with 9-11, simply providing a good photo
op for Poffy, who was almost arrested, but stood still enough for security guards
to think he was part of the statue. Dedicated October 8, 1991, the depressing
tableau depicts merchant mariners in a sinking lifeboat, and is located out in
the bay surrounding Battery Park where various other 9-11 paraphernalia resides.
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the sign sez: "No Trespassing: Violators will be prosecuted." Bit late
to start prosecuting unauthorized visitors to the World Trade Center, innit? Al
Qaeda's motto probably reads something like, "Been there, done that"
as far as trespassing on foreign soil with a big muddy bootprint up America's
If something as big as two airplanes could infiltrate the hawk
sensors of Homeland Security, a smallish naked cucumber defying authoritah and
scrambling over the daunting three-tiered barrier to ostensibly retrieve his pencil
would ring not a single bell.
is September 2006 and this fence has clearly been up too long. Who is being fooled
by its existence? Tourists. Why is there no construction to rebuild? Because the
thick-necked public - those Great Unwashed, those Salt of the Earth, blessed with
the sacred gene of mediocrity, who will do nothing remarkable to avouch their
claim on Life, have found a vicarious 15 minutes of historical significance that
they refuse to release their stranglehold on; this site must not be "desecrated"
with new buildings because as it stands deserted and useless, it links them with
history in a way that declaring they won the lottery through missing teeth and
white-trash bra-straps could never do.
Kennedy Assassination generation is all but vanished or in senior diapers - time
for a new Historical Event that this generation can claim as their own Defining
Moment, a sliver of history on which they can eat out for decades, relating where
they were and what they were doing when they heard the news and shat themselves.
less of a contention than the Kennedy Assassination, 9-11 conjures its own sheaf
of conspiracy theories, to keep art students, coffee houses, moviemakers, internet
monkeys and anarchist news junkies busy for those same decades.
much as "conspiracy" is bandied about, take a step back to discern the
meaning of the word "conspire": to act in harmony toward a common end.
Seems like the present administration is doing just that to keep their pockets
padded and their citizens stultified. "Conspiracy" need not necessarily
mean "in cahoots with the Taliban" - "conspiracy" could show
its hand in the simplest euphemisms, like terming a war progressed on the basis
of a bitchslap to a former administration Operation Iraqi Freedom; like titling
a pathologically paranoid document The USA Patriot Act when it is so stridently
there IS a conspiracy should not come as a surprise - the surprise, the "Shyamalan
Twist" as it were, is that the conspiracy is not clandestine at all, but
in full view of the American people, as the "managed news" that the
government has been spoon-feeding the public all along, with nary a whimper of
dissent by opposing political parties or supposedly objective journalistic forums.
Knowing what we do now, this should come as no surprise, considering the American
President is the greatest terrorist threat the world has ever seen - opposed to
world peace, human intelligence, and a sustainable environment, enforcing his
methods of opposition in the most underhanded, cowardly and life-destroying ways,
through duplicity, hypocrisy, self-deceit and utter ignorance and stupidity; a
spoiled brat wearing a cowboy hat who found his father's guns lying around...
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the Great Unwashed mill
lugubriously, ostentatiously lamenting their passed loved ones because it's the
fad in September in America, showing their respect not necessarily to the untimely
dead, but to the television culture which may be watching them at any given moment,
Poffy reclines on a sorrow-laden parchment and laments the death of liberty, equality
The official excuses to go to war with Iraq involved
Weapons of Mass Destruction as a potential threat to America; in falling for this
whitewash, Americans must ask themselves whether they were actually paying attention
in September of 2001 - when no nuclear weapons were used to bring the United States
to its knees, but rather, everyday objects USED as weapons (much like The Godfather Part III, where Micheal Corleone's emissary infiltrated a
don's stronghold with no weapons and yet managed to murder the don using the don's
own eyeglasses). The lesson: if someone wanted to really and truly kill you, they
would find a way. No weapons required.
informed by police, "No lying on the poster," Poffy replied, "Exactly!"
adding that his panegyric to Liberty was the whole truth and nothing but the truth
- something which the very leaders of the country have not the temerity to embrace.
To which the police retorted that although they were massive fans of his, they
would have to remove him vegetably from the locale.
was apprehended again later that day graffitiing "Bush Nam" on a Ground
Zero stanchion and questioning the connection between Iraq-Qaeda and Saddam bin
Laden to a gaggle of loyal listeners who bought his comedy album and compared
him to Lenny Bruce...
in Graceless Land.
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somber moment for Poffy, as we walk the wall of mourning, he in his "I heart
NY" T-shirt, representing the thug Rudy Giuliani, and I in my F.U. T-shirt, representing
the felon George W. Bush. Lest we forget that actual human beings died here, our immediate
mien must necessarily remain respectful.
for all its soul-crushing impact five years ago, 9-11 itself has lost its edgy
grit in this world where video games glorify thug violence and news programs homogenize
mass murder and horrific shrapnel-sprayed death as nothing more than necessary
roughness. 9-11 does not really even conjure that fateful September day in 2001
any more - it has become embedded in world vernacular as a brand name, like Band-Aid
or Coca-Cola, so much so that marketers do not even have to use artifice in selling
their coffee table books of carnage, or ingloriously vapid stick pins of liberty
and freedom and those insufferable little American flags, bastardized into magnet
ribbons and pens and lighters and baseball caps. It is a testament to the governmental
inculcation of the Selling of Their War that people selectively lap up the "prescribed"
9-11 paraphernalia like puppy milk and pule indefinably at extra-curricular exploitations
(like movies and documentaries pertaining to 9-11), which are no better or worse
in their tackiness than limited-issue stamps or commemorative plates depicting
the featherbrained President in laughably ill-fitting jet pilot's clobber.
we walk the barrier brimming with smiling pictures and flowers and homemade cards,
we can't help but notice the proliferation of American flags in various incarnations.
In the months following 9-11 the American flag was desecrated more by the American
people exhibiting it in ignominious, ignorant fervor than any of the Haight-Asbury
hippies who burned it during protests against Viet Nam. The fact that the once-powerful
symbol of the nation's flag has become commonplace enough to splay across cheese,
cameras, shoes, car windows, outside grocery stores, on bikini calendars, on turkey
packaging, as backdrop to reality shows (those sandwich-board hobos were right
- The End is truly Nigh) illustrates its ineffectiveness, impotence and subsequent
desecration as a symbol of freedom, liberty and national unity.
T-shirt was pulled from a package emblazoned with Betsy Ross' handiwork. Mighty
powerful T-shirt, that...
Sphere of Sfear.
Ground Zero is not as somber a graveyard as one might expect, as the greed of
Western Civilization pumps the city's heartbeat in, around and through this media-hallowed
vicinity, scurrying corpuscles rushing to their dates with money in a capitalistic,
Rent must be billed, taxes must be seized, faces
must be sat upon; trains must continue to run, hospitals must continue to charge,
politicians must continue to rape.
sphere, designed by Fritz Koenig, creatively titled "The Sphere" (modern
art - the means by which people less intelligent than you make themselves feel
more intelligent via their esoteric inanities), once stood in Austin Tobin Plaza,
between the WTC Towers; dented by airplane and skyscraper debris, it now stands
in Battery Park, where Poffy uses its uncertain surface to abseil in honor of
9-11. Yelling "Freedom!" like Mel Gibson on every downstroke, Poffy
was soon arrested again and proceeded to extol to the Nazi-shorn patrol officers
his final word on Ground Zero:
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very fact that five years after the destruction of the WTC Towers no semblance
of edifice could be agreed upon amicably and erected, due to the Babel of dissenters,
anarchists (government bodies included in this tag), conspiracy theorists and
"hero" worshipers, coupled with the fact that a mildly-retarded felon
is the transparent figurehead helming the Divided States of America, proves at
least one thing - the terrorists are indeed still winning.
was sent home to Los Angeles with a stern warning and a restraining order never
to go within one hundred miles of Ground Zero again.